Thanks to all of you who wrote letters to your Florida legislators about the Python Bill it has passed both the Senate and the House unanimously and is scheduled to go into effect July 1, 2007.
While snakes are a little off topic for Big Cat Rescue, the reason this bill was so important is that it will also require people in Florida who exhibit Class I animals, for compensation or not, to either carry 2 million dollars in liability coverage or post a $10,000.00 bond with the Florida Wildlife Conservation Commission. Class I animals include tigers, lions, leopards, jaguars, bears and next year will hopefully include cougars. If people are going to be allowed to keep these dangerous animals, they should be held accountable for any damage they do through the owner’s negligence.
This bill will also enable the FWCC to move more quickly to shut down dangerous and abusive situations because it spells out what constitutes a violation and what the penalties are. It also provides a cushion of funds, provided by the exhibitor’s mandatory contribution to the bond, so that the FWCC can afford to step in and feed and relocate Class I animals that are in crisis.
Perhaps even more important is the fact that this will stop a lot of low-life-types from bringing their baby tiger photos booths to Florida and will dry up the market for baby big cats to be used in practices that are unsafe for the public and unkind to the cats.
Thanks again for writing letters to your legislators. It really made a difference! Now you can help us stop the exploitation of contact with big cats at a Federal level. Haley’s Act has been introduced in Congress and is picking up momentum with every letter you write. Visit www.CatLaws.com now to send your letter and save thousands more of these wonderful lions, tigers and other big cats from lives of exploitation, abuse and abandonment.